Five Kennedy High School seniors were recently honored in the first group of 359 science students from across the country to receive Research Badges for their outstanding work in preparing reports for the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search, sponsored by the Society for Science & the Public.
Additionally, one of the researchers, 17-year-old Joshua Pollock, of Merrick, received a Research Initiative Badge, in recognition of the extraordinary effort he made to submit his project. Only 68 students from around the nation earned the honor.
Pollock’s home was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy, and his research data was unavailable for weeks before the Intel contest’s submission deadline. Pollock received his data only four days before the deadline and worked around the clock, at home and at the Merrick Library, to meet the deadline.
The five Kennedy students, all three-year participants in the school’s Authentic Science Research Program, are Pollock, David Barsky, Natalie Giovino, William Goedel and Sara Rosenzweig. Below are their profiles.
David Barsky, 18,
For the senior research thesis that he submitted to the Intel contest, Barsky studied gene expression in stem cells.
Stem cells are the basis of life for all multi-cellular organisms, contained in umbilical cord blood at birth and bone marrow and fat tissue in adults. They are, in essence, blank slates. They can transform from simple cells into complex organs. They hold great promise in medicine because, researchers believe, they could be used to grow entire organs in the future –– if only scientists can figure out the magic behind how precisely stem cells specialize –– that is, how they become organs.
Barsky studied the nuclear “pore,” or “hole,” which regulates the transfer of genetic material and water-soluble molecules through eukaryotic cells –– the cells of complex organisms such as humans, with layers of membranes protecting nuclei.
Barsky conducted his research at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.